When Your Plugs Arrive

In our last blog post we looked at the many options available for purchasing seedling plugs from Bob’s Market.  Now that we’re nearing the peak of the shipping season, let’s take a look at some simple steps you can take to ensure success when your plug shipment arrives.


FedEx Approved

After working closely with FedEx over the last year, we are proud to say that our newest box design has been officially approved by FedEx’s packaging lab.

Whether your shipment arrives on one of our trucks, via FedEx, or palletized freight, an important first step is checking your shipment for accuracy.  Although we have a near 100% order fulfillment rate, mistakes do happen.  As someone who has helped pull orders for shipment before, there’s always that one tray that feels like looking for a needle in a stack of needles.  The folks that pull orders weekly make it look like an art.  Nevertheless, it’s still important to check your order when it arrives.

If there is an issue with your order, it is important to document exactly what is wrong (photos, paperwork, etc.) and get the claims process started with Ball via WebTrack.  This helps us identify the problem and work to mitigate similar issues in the future.  More importantly, it ensures you get properly compensated for losses.  I remember a lost shipment a few years ago.  When we finally tracked down what happened, the pallet of boxes was discovered setting on the tarmac at the wrong airport … in a blizzard!  Luckily, stories like these are few and far between.


Along those same lines is temperature.  When we ship via our own fleet, we can have pretty good control over this.  However, when words like “polar vortex” start popping up on the news, I think we all start to get worried.  Usually, we'll hold orders for a few days if the temperatures are going to be particularly brutal.  If you’re receiving a shipment via FedEx, keep in mind that the backs of those “last mile” trucks are usually not heated.  This might seem obvious, but it has happened, make sure someone is there to receive your shipment.  A box left on a doorstep in subzero temperatures is not a good thing.

Once your plugs arrive, their initial care is important.  We grow them in optimal conditions, but they get shipped in … less … than optimal conditions i.e. in the dark, with no water, and usually in the middle of winter.  After shipping it is important to water plugs and get them back into an optimal growing environment as soon as possible.  This is especially the case with plugs shipped via FedEx or palletized freight.  We’ve found that trays being shipped with these methods stay in their cells better if they’re allowed to dry out a bit more.  For example, FedEx shipments leaving on a Monday morning will be pulled on Saturday.

Finally comes transplanting.  Ideally, you don’t want to hold your plug shipment for too long before transplanting them.  Waiting too long can lead to plugs becoming root bound and a host of other issues.  This is where good production planning really comes into play, but that’s a topic for another blog post.

Remember, anytime you have questions regarding shipping, feel free to contact us.